- Series: Collins Business Essentials
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (January 3, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060845724
- ISBN-13: 978-0060845728
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 109 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry (Collins Business Essentials) Paperback – January 3, 2006
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"Michael Dell is clearly a genius in the computer world, but his revolutionary insights into business processes provide invaluable lessons for many other industries as well."-- Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, FedEX Corporation"Michael Dell has become the poster boy of the new economy..The closest person we have to Henry Ford is Michael Dell."-- "Fortune "I've long admired Dell's pioneering use of the World Wide Web. In "Direct from Dell, you'll find strategies for using the Web to enhance your sales and empower information throughout your business. If you want to capitalize on cyberspace, you should read this book."-- Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft Corporation "Virtual integration.may well become a new organizational model for the information age."-- "Harvard Business Review "Dell, the company, seems to have been born and evolved with an anticipation of the Internet age. Michael Dell walks us through how he turned his prescience into a powerful reality--and an outstanding example of the companies of the future."-- Andrew S. Grove, Chairman, Intel Corporation "Dell Computer is perhaps the purest example of the efficiencies made possible by information technology." -- "New York Times"Michael Dell's book illustrates the history of the company's success and vision for the future in a concise and powerful way. It is a great book that will serve as a reference to all executives, and we certainly have a lot to learn from it at Sony." -- Idei Nobuyuki, CEO, Sony Corporation "Occasionally, rarely, history is made when a gifted new leader, who has a vision of new processes and technologies, produces a brilliant new business model. Henry Ford did it in automobiles, Michael Dell hasdone the same in PC's - the parallels are remarkable. His book provides the insight into his drive for improvement, his business logic and the learning from his mistakes, so we can aspire to emulate his successes." -- Jacques A. Nasser, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company"Dell's story is the stuff high-tech legends are made of."-- "Forbes ASAP
About the Author
Michael Dell is the chairman of the board of directors of Dell Inc., the world's largest computer-systems company. In 1992, he became the youngest CEO ever to earn a ranking on the Fortune 500. Mr. Dell serves on the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, the executive committee of the International Business Council, and is a member of the U.S. Business Council. He also serves on the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the governing board of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India.
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In Direct From Dell, you're reading 10-15 bullet points reiterated over and over and over again in vague, general phrases that can be applied to almost every single successful business that makes the entire thing sound like Generic Business Owner Takes Full Credit Of Company's Success And Writes Generic Book for Quick Cash and Recognition.
You will get some neat, Dell-specific information, but it's almost entirely at the very beginning and very end of the book.
Bullet points for running a successful business include:
Listening to customers
Hiring for the future
Learn from the past
Accept others' help
Sound familiar? Congratulations--you've read every other book by every other successful CEO!
As stated, there are a FEW points that are specific to Dell, though. Reduction of suppliers, component customization, and selling directly to the customers, taking advantage of the internet. Things that you think are obvious and commonplace now but really weren't back then. But that's it, really--you're not going to get finer details of how these were done (likely because I don't think Mr. Dell, like many owners, really understands the finer mechanics of his machinery once the company got big enough), instead just getting cute anecdotes and vague descriptions of how these work. Lots of cute anecdotes, for sure--you'll be swimming in them before waking up and going "Huh? Why was that necessary?"
It's just not a good book. I believe it's successful primarily because enough people have read it and incorporated it into their various management courses that's it's just something of a tradition, now. Make no mistake; Dell is a GREAT story of success, and the TEXTBOOK we used gave VERY CLEAR REASONS why, treating the entirety of Dell's success as an ever going Case Study within the text. But this little "book" doesn't touch on ANY of that when it really should.
Armed with these skills, Michael, found out that during the initial computing days when he was still finishing school, the big computer companies were selling standard configurations and at much higher cost. So he started a business out of his dorm room, of assembling computers according to the requirements of his customers and started selling assembled computers at a much cheaper rate and importantly giving the customers what they wanted. This initial experience thought Michael that there are two things he had to stick to, if he had to succeed:
1) Give the customer what they want, not what you have
2) Sell directly to the customer
These two became the guiding principles for Dell Computers which experienced amazing growth of more than 50% every year.
In "Direct from Dell" Michael has given very minute details of how Dell actually grew from a $1000 out of the dorm room company to a $60 Billion company. The book is exceptionally detailed, to an extent that I was surprised that a CEO will provide such details of his company. But clear communication is something that Michael has stressed on right from his initial days.
This book also details at length about the learning's Dell gathered from their mistakes. One of the learning's which attracted me was Dell's organizational structure. Dell was growing at an exceptional rate and while everybody was busy catering to the customer demands, the internal organization (People & Infrastructure) was stretched and disorganized. Michael then got some outside help and redefined the organization and came up with "Segmentation". What it meant was that, to run the company smoothly, it was broken down into smaller companies each with their own support and sales structure. Since Dell was always a customer centric company, sticking to its principles, the segmentation was done according to the customers. So a customer like GE had its own small Dell company dedicated to it. I have personally worked in one such segmented organization in the past and can vouch for it.
Dell was one of the pioneers of the "Direct" selling model wherein they eliminated the resellers and sold directly to the customer. The results of this model were multiple:
1) Savings were passed to the customer. Other companies used to sell through the resellers, which meant increased cost
2) Customer feedback was immediate. Other conventional companies had very few ways to find what the customer actually felt about their products.
3) Online retail thrived. Prior to Dell selling computers on the internet, retail through internet was very limited.
Dell however opened up a whole new line of retail which is now exploited by wide range of businesses
This book also outlines how Dell came up with the "Build to Order" model and further reduced the computer costs and passed the savings to the customer. By working in close contact with the three integral pieces, Customer, its employees & Suppliers Dell came up with ways to reduce inventory to as low as "8" days while other companies had inventory as high as "40" days. What this meant, is that, if there was a change in technology or customer demands which is very prevalent in computer industry, Dell was ready to react while other companies were behind by at least 32 days. Other companies would adjust their inventory losses by increasing the cost of other products while Dell would pass the entire savings to its customers. This was possible however by working very closely with the Suppliers in particular.
Overall this book can be a blueprint for starting a new business. This is going on my good books shelf.